Ginger Unveiled--Its a Scooter!
Ginger, or "It" is a personal transportation device--an electric motor scooter--unveiled today on Good Morning America.New York, December 3, 2001--Inventor Dean Kamen this morning unveiled his invention, variously known as "Ginger" and "It," ending a full year of speculation. He demonstrated the device on ABCs Good Morning America. Was It worth the wait? It depends on what your definition of "It" is. An electric scooter is a bit of a disappointment to those who were hoping for a Back-to-the-Future hoverboard or a Stirling engine-powered device that would vastly reduce gasoline consumption. Kamen himself has tried to minimize anticipation. A statement on his companys Web site claimed that the rumors and speculation had far exceeded the device itself. Gingers official name is Segway. The rider stands between two wheels on a platform, and grasps a T-shaped handlebar. Inventor Kamen says you only have to "think" about which way you want to go, but the machine senses changes in your balance and takes them as directions. Segway has a range of 15 miles on a single battery, weighs around 60-70 lb., and will cost around $3,000 when it hits the market. The models used by GMA anchors Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer were limited to 12 MPH, but Kamen hinted that the scooter was capable of speeds two or three times higher. Gibson and Sawyer had no trouble maneuvering the devices, despite never having seen them before. Spotters trotted alongside, but were unnecessary.
Kamen is best known for his inventions in the medical field, especially in the area of administering medicines and dialysis. He invented the first wearable infusion pump, a home dialysis machine, an arterial stent, and an astounding gyro-stabilized, microprocessor-controlled wheel chair, the iBOT. This latter device, currently under clinical trials, is a four-wheel-drive wheelchair that can traverse mud and sand, climb curbs and stairs, and actually raise up and maneuver on two wheels, balancing just as surely as we do on two legs.